07 May 2018

Don't Selfie With Your Mouth Full

There are some swanky places to eat at Walt Disney World and then there are those places that I try to steer people away from. Morimoto Asia definitely falls into that first category. On a recent trip, I decided to step away from my preference for visiting Morimoto Asia for dinner, and my preference for duck and ribs, and instead have a relaxed lunch. In our tradition of pairing menu items with cocktails, I opted to select one of the house specialty drinks and pair it with something from the dim sum menu. The results, as has everything at Morimoto Asia, did not disappoint.

I started out with the Manhattan East. As the name suggests, this cocktail is a variation on your typical Manhattan. I’m more of an old-fashioned person myself, but this beverage had a few of my favorite things: bourbon (Maker’s Mark, which is a fine standard, even if I prefer Woodford Reserve as my go-to), junmai sake, ginger, and orange. This is, as you could guess, a very strong drink. However, the spirits in this concoction aren’t the main flavors, instead the orange is towards the front, particularly when it comes to scent, and the spiciness of the ginger really fill out the palate in this cocktail. If you’re not a fan of sake, then definitely don’t try this one, but if ginger and orange are flavors you like highlighted in your drinks, then this is an absolute winner.

From the dim sum side of things, I opted for something a bit simpler, the Chicken Bao. This dish comes with two fluffy buns filled with lettuce, cucumber, spicy mayonnaise (which I appreciate it being listed as instead of trying to fancy the description up by using the word “aioli”), and teriyaki chicken. The two buns are enough to share before a larger meal or to eat on your own, while still not entirely filling you up. As with all dim sum, my feeling is the more you order, the more you share, and the more you get to try. However, for today’s purposes we stuck strictly to the bao bun themselves.

The heat from the spicy mayonnaise was nice, but not overpowering, it sort of just tickled at the back of my throat. The lettuce and cucumbers added a cooling element, both in terms of temperature and on the heat spectrum, and a crisp bite that is the opposite of the texture provided by the bun. Speaking of, the bun was pillowy in all the right ways that you want a steamed bun to be. Lastly, the namesake of the Chicken Bao, aka the teriyaki chicken, was excellent. There is always a concern that teriyaki chicken is just going to be beaten down by an overly salty sauce, and that was not the case here. While the teriyaki sauce does lean towards the salty side of the taste range, it isn’t overboard and actually serves to highlight the spices in the sauce and the inherent flavors of the chicken. The chicken, by the way, is thickly cut and incredibly juicy.

I couldn’t have picked a better pairing if I tried, although I imagine there aren’t a lot of bad pairings coming out of the kitchen and from the bar at Morimoto Asia. The sour and bitter elements in the Manhattan East mingle nicely with the savory and salty bits of the Chicken Bao. This is a pairing that I would definitely order again, although with such an expansive menu, I do find myself continually trying new things at Morimoto Asia.

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